Carmelo Anthony may not want to be a Knick anymore, but a young All-Star point guard reportedly does.
According to multiple reports, the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving requested a trade last week. The Knicks are among the teams that Irving, a New Jersey native, would like to be traded to, ESPN reported.
The report said that when Irving met with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, the Spurs, Knicks, Heat and Timberwolves were the teams he said he would be willing to join. ESPN reported that San Antonio would be Irving’s preferred destination.
However, Irving, who has two years remaining on his contract, doesn’t have a no-trade clause. So the Cavaliers could move the four-time All-Star to whatever team they want.
Irving reportedly wants to go to a team where he can be more of a focal point of the offense and doesn’t want to play with LeBron James anymore.
The latter is a bombshell since Irving grew as a player with James. Irving never reached the playoffs before James returned to Cleveland three years ago. The Cavaliers made it to three straight NBA Finals and won a championship since James’ return.
James was said to be “blindsided and disappointed” by the news that Irving wants out, according to ESPN.
The Knicks have their own unhappy player that they have been trying to move, and the Cavaliers are on Anthony’s short list of teams for whom he would waive his no-trade clause. The Rockets are another.
If the Knicks somehow can land the 25-year-old Irving it would fill their need for a franchise point guard. As it stands, the Knicks’ point guards are Ron Baker and first-round pick Frank Ntilikina.
Perhaps the Knicks can put together a package that centers around Anthony and draft picks for Irving. But you can expect many teams to pursue Irving, and those with more and better assets.
“It’s nothing I can comment on, can’t really share an emotion on, an opinion on that right now,” new Knicks general manager Scott Perry said during an interview with ESPN Friday. “So we’ll just have to see what plays out going forward.”
Up to this point, the Knicks have been discussing trade scenarios for Anthony with the Rockets. Anthony wants to play with his pal Chris Paul and James Harden and for a ready-made contender in Houston.
The Cavaliers are one as well and the idea of playing with James has always been on Anthony’s mind. But the Cavaliers are a far stronger team with Irving, one of the best scoring guards in the NBA.
Perry said the Knicks will continue to explore trades for Anthony.
“Like we said since I’ve been here, if there’s something that would make sense for both sides then we’ll look at it. If it doesn’t then we won’t,” Perry said.
“There’s a lot of time in front of us right now,” he added. “We’re going to continue to do our due diligence and keep the lines of communication open with all sides involved and it will take its natural course.”
This development involving Irving could explain why the Cavaliers have been in negotiations with Knicks free agent point guard Derrick Rose. They’ve been discussing a one-year deal with the former MVP.
There also are rumblings about James’ future. He can be a free agent next summer, and there are rumors he could bolt Cleveland again. It’s possible that Irving is making a pre-emptive strike and trying to get out of Cleveland before the Cavaliers turn back into a lottery team again.
6-3 point guard
NBA Champion, 2015-16
Top pick in 2011 NBA Draft
2011-12 Rookie of the Year
Career averages: 21.6 points, 5.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 45.7 FG%
2016-17 averages: 25.2 points, 5.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 47.3 FG%
Averaged 27.1 points during 2016 NBA Finals series win over Warriors